Home / US / As Cranston Fire grows, firefighters try to protect homes in Pine Cove near Idyllwild – Press Enterprise

As Cranston Fire grows, firefighters try to protect homes in Pine Cove near Idyllwild – Press Enterprise

Firefighters fighting the Cranston fire near Idyllwild wanted to set foot on Thursday night in the populated Pine Cove area and hope the flames will settle down, as they often do when the sun goes down.

"This is their main concern, there are the houses," said Lyn Sieliet, a spokeswoman for the US Forest Service. The fire crews wanted to keep the flames at the southern edge of the mountain.

The strategy, starting late Thursday, came at the end of a long day when more than 1,000 firefighters had to withstand three-digit temperatures to slow the spread of flame, which grew to 7,500 acres with 5 percent containment. The fire, which may have been triggered by arsonists, has destroyed five houses and forced 6,000 people to evacuate several mountain communities and cut off power.

Almost 5,000 buildings remained under threat.

Officials were also working to restore power to hundreds of residents, damaging the region's infrastructure. [1


The severity of the fire and its implications prompted Governor Jerry Brown to declare a state of emergency, a measure that would facilitate some of the government regulations that might hamper recovery efforts and provide special support.

Early Friday The fire department officials would probably be in good news. The flames are pushing southeast to an uninhabited, federal-designated wilderness area. The bad news: Because of the designation no motorized vehicles are allowed on land, said Sieliet

That is, the fire is fought from the air and by crew members on foot who fight the flames with anything they can carry on [19659002"Weneedtoadjustourtacticsabitbutwe'restillaggressivelyfightingthatfire"Sielietsaid

The flames flew on Thursday through steep, rugged terrain through various types of extremely dry brushes, including manzanita, which burns harder because of its oil content. The 5 percent containment by the end of the day represented the percentage of the extent the firefighters have determined that the fire will not spread further.

There were no new reports of burning houses; Five were damaged or destroyed on Wednesday, the day the fire on Highway 74 between Hemet and Mountain Center was ignited. Two firefighters suffered unspecified injuries.

The communities under evacuation are Pine Cove, Fern Valley, Cedar Glen, Idyllwild, Apple Canyon, the Mountain Center, Lake Hemet, the northern Garner Valley, and Hurkey Creek. Residents of Pine Cove were allowed to return Wednesday night before approval was lifted.

Southern Garney Valley residents were warned that evacuations are possible should conditions change.

Many campsites and hiking trails in Mt. San Jacinto State Park and the San Bernardino National Forest are closed. The Pacific Crest Trail, just north of Highway 74, is among them.

Those who stayed behind tried to make the most of it. Restaurant Red Kettle stayed open despite a generator and a limited menu. A man has checked the neighbors' pets. Idyllwild Bake Shop and Brew exhibited food and drinks for the fire department. And Idyllwild Chevron remained open far beyond normal business hours to power locals' vehicles and fire engines.

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